Spotlight on Europe 2017: How can Danish institutions recruit more international students?

Spotlight on Europe 2017: How can Danish institutions recruit more international students?


As a country often ranked as having the highest quality of life and the happiest population, it’s unsurprising that Denmark is a popular choice for international students.

Whilst tuition is still free for students from the EU/EEA, Denmark was the first of the Nordic countries to make the bold move and introduce tuition fees for international students. Immediately following the reform in 2006, inbound mobility unsurprisingly dropped, but it has begun to rise again in recent years and international students in Denmark has since doubled.

Where are their students coming from?

Students from Spain and Greece have all dramatically increased in the last five years. China is by far the non-EU country with the most students in Denmark. Other countries with a strong student presence in Denmark include Nepal, India, Russia and Iran. US students in Denmark have also doubled in recent years.

It’s a great option for students who want to travel as Denmark is the gateway between Northern and Western Europe.

Most UG courses are taught in Danish, but there also plenty of options in English and German and international students must prove they are fluent in the language the course is taught in.

In the last year, the Danish government has been introducing new measures to strengthen international student recruitment and ensure Denmark remains competitive in a tough international market. The ambition is to promote Denmark as an attractive study destination with high quality teaching.

So what’s the plan?

It was suggested that understanding the education systems of foreign countries could be troublesome, so new guidelines have been implemented to simplify the process, therefore encouraging international students to choose Denmark.

Institutions that are targeting foreign students are now obliged to provide clear and relevant information on a range of topics, including available courses, tuition fees, living costs, language requirements etc. Other initiatives include those focused on retaining students in Denmark after their studies, such as a tax cap on salaries, streamlined immigration and support finding a job.

The new code of conduct also encourages institutions to embrace diversity –grouping students with those from different backgrounds and a large proportion of Danish students.

And how do the institutions feel about this?

There is some unrest within the higher education system, as these measures just so happen to coincide with some pretty major budget cuts to the education sector announced in 2015 – to the tune of over $1bn over the next 4 years. We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on how these cuts impact on their international recruitment.

Here are our top tips for Denmark to stand out as a top study destination for international students


1: With the new guidelines for institutions to provide adequate information for prospective international students, ensure your website is mobile optimised

2: One of the primary motivations for students to study abroad is the enhanced employability and career prospects it offers so really shouting about any industry links you might have, internship opportunities and connections with prestigious businesses will set you apart from the competition


1: Peer reviews go a long way in convincing Chinese students of where to study so using current students as advocates would be a great way to go.

2: Research shows that the majority of Chinese students believe that subject specific rankings are more useful than overall rankings so be sure to include any subject / faculty expertise in your recruitment strategies. Using course-specific keywords on Baidu (China’s main search platform) would be a great choice.

3: 90% of prospective Chinese students indicate they will use social media when deciding on an institution or school – are you using social platforms to engage with them?


1: Engineering, Law, Medicine and Business are all very popular subjects for Indian students so if you offer particular expertise in these areas, it would be good to shout about it.

2: Students will also research academics when choosing an institution and strong teaching staff carries great importance.

3: Google is a great platform to use, with almost 100% of the market share in India.

Get in touch with our team of digital experts, to learn how we can revolutionise your digital marketing strategy and generate more student enrolments for your institution.